Submitted On Briefs: February 20, 2019
Christopher J. Whalley, Esq., Ellsworth, for appellant mother
T. Mills, Attorney General, and Meghan Szylvian, Asst. Atty.
Gen., Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for appellee
Department of Health and Human Services
ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM and HUMPHREY, JJ.
Megan D. appeals from a judgment of the District Court
(Ellsworth, Roberts, J.) terminating her parental
rights to her child pursuant to 22 M.R.S.
§4055(1)(B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii) (2018). We affirm the
The Department of Health and Human Services filed a child
protection petition on September 23, 2016, see 22
M.R.S. § 4032 (2018), and the court [Mallonee,
/.) issued a preliminary protection order the same day,
placing the child in foster care, see 22 M.R.S.
§§ 4034, 4036 (2018). The mother waived her right
to a summary preliminary hearing, see 22 M.R.S.
§ 4034(4), and on February 28, 2017, the court
[Roberts, /.) entered a jeopardy order by agreement,
see 22 M.R.S. § 4035 (2018). The Department
filed a petition for termination of the mother's parental
rights on February 1, 2018. See 22 M.R.S. §
4052 (2018). On July 24, 2018, the court held a hearing on
the Department's petition for termination of the
mother's parental rights. See 22 M.R.S. §
On August 20, 2018, the court granted the Department's
petition to terminate the mother's parental rights.
See 22 M.R.S. § 4O55(1)(B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii).
Based on the testimony presented at the hearing and other
competent evidence in the record, the court found, by clear
and convincing evidence, that the mother is unwilling or
unable to protect the child from jeopardy or take
responsibility for the child within a time that is reasonably
calculated to meet the child's needs, and that
termination of her parental rights is in the best interest of
the child. See id.
The court based its decision on the following factual
findings, which are supported by competent evidence in the
[The mother] gave birth to [the child] on September 1, 2016.
[She] used heroin during her pregnancy resulting in [the
child] being born drug affected. [The mother] was given the
opportunity to enter a residential treatment program
following [the child's] birth. Unfortunately, she soon
left the program and [the child] was taken into foster care
on September 23, 2016. [The child] has not been in [the
mother's] care since that date.
. . . [The mother] has not been in contact with the
[D]epartment consistently; she has not been calling in to see
if she needs to drug test, and she does not have safe or
[The mother] participated in therapy... from February of 2017
until December 18, 2017. She was diagnosed with [o]piate
dependency in early remission. [She] was just beginning to
address her trauma history when the services stopped due to
[the service provider] mistakenly believing that the
Department's authorization had ceased
. . . [The mother] has made substantial connections within
the recovery community to support her efforts. [Several of
those connections] are working with [the mother] to assist
her in finding employment and preparing for transition to her
own housing. While her prospects are good at this point she